“A Voyage to the Houyhnhnms”
Jonathan Swift uses the metaphors of Gulliver, Pedro, the Houyhnhnms, and the Yahoos in “ A Voyage to the Land of the Houyhnhnms” to satirize humans so that they could realize that to be human, you cannot go to opposite extremes. Swift has characters to represent man as a complete animal (the Yahoos), as well as characters to represent man as wholly rational being (the Houynhnms). The naïve Gulliver is used to show how man is. The last metaphor of Pedro is used to show how a man can be; a balance of logic and emotion that creates a perfect, individual human.
By writing this book, Swift is cleverly mocking and criticizing the men of his time. In the 18th century, Swift’s fellow European men aimed to be completely rational and logical all of the time. Much like the Houyhnhnms, these men would fall into the trap of hubris and their overuse of logic would cause them to lack the important human qualities of emotion and pleasure. Through the Houyhnhnms, Swift shows the dangers of pride. When we first meet the Houyhnhnms through Gulliver’s eyes, their way of life seems to make sense. Gulliver admires different aspects of their life including their governing; they have no laws because why would you do something that isn’t rational? Houyhnhnms also do not argue and do not have any opinions about anything because why would you argue about something that can’t ever be answered? One of the Houyhnhnms’ features that Gulliver admires most is their lack of any language that describes the negative things that are so prominent in human society like evil, lying, jealousy, selfishness, and greed. In order for the Master Horse to say anything close to “lie”, he has to say “the thing which was not”. At this point we may think that Swift is describing humans as they should be. The Houyhnhnms live in a world with logic, friendliness, and order, as well as a world without negativity, war, argument, law,...
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